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MDLaw, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 6133
Experience:  Experience in business law, contract law and related matters.
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I have a small design firm - Corbis is coming after a client

Customer Question

i have a small design firm - Corbis is coming after a client for a small image being used over the last 9 years - I don't have records to prove we purchased it - can he sue me? He is asking for a copy of our contract which leads me to believe that is where he is going...
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  MDLaw replied 1 year ago.
Hello and thank you for using the Just Answer website. I look forward to assisting you.Did you provide the image to the client? When you say you purchased it, did you purchase it from someone who had the rights to sell it? When you say "he" is asking for a copy of our contract, who is the "he" to whom you are referring?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes we provided the image. We purchased the image from an online service provider and as far as the rights to sell it - one would assume so but then again how the hell would I know:? Yes 'he' is the client.
Expert:  MDLaw replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the additional information.
To answer the question you asked, yes, your client can sue you because anyone can sue anyone. However, the real issue would be whether there is a valid basis upon which to sue.
If there is a party alleging that their image was stolen or used without their permission, they have the legal right to sue any party using the image for infringement of their intellectual property rights. It would be incumbent upon them to prove that they have the legal right to the image and that you are infringing upon their copyright. With respect to your client suing you, whether or not they have a valid legal basis upon which to sue would depend on the cause of action. Because it's been a number of years, the statute of limitations may have passed for some of their claims, i.e. contract claims. If, however, the cause of action were to arise from their being sued, then there would likely not be a statute of limitations problem.
Essentially, it all comes down to what the party alleging infringement can prove, what you can prove with respect to the image (i.e. proof that you did not steal it), and what your contract with the client specified with respect to rights and obligations.
Please let me know if this has answered your question or whether you need additional information. Thank you.

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